Appearing in "One Clue Over The Cuckoo's Nest"
- New York State
Synopsis for "One Clue Over The Cuckoo's Nest"
Felicia Hardy shows off her new Black Cat costume to Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane.[Continuity 1] Not only this, but she shows off the devices that the Tinkerer created for her to compensate for her lost powers.[Continuity 2] These include earrings that help with her balance and agility, strength boosting costume, claws built into her gloves, and special contacts that allow her to see in the dark. Peter is impressed, but asks her what her boyfriend Flash Thompson thinks of all this. Felicia explains that she hasn't told him, since it's not publicly known that she was the Black Cat, she wants to keep it a secret since she doesn't know how he'd feel about her costumed identity, and the constant danger it comes with. Lighting up a cigarette, Mary Jane sarcastically comments about how knowing could drive someone to smoke.[Continuity 3]
Later, Peter and Mary Jane join the couple claiming to be his parents on a walk to Barkley Park.[Continuity 4] Although the couple claiming to be Richard and Mary Parker remember taking Peter her when he was still a child, they don't remember how the family dog, Mitzy, nearly drowned in the lake. When Peter begins questioning them on why they can't remember. That's when Mary Jane pulls him aside and tells him to take it easy on them, reminding Peter that they spent the past 20 years in a Russian prison and the fact that they can't remember something so insignificant is not a big deal. This causes Richard and Mary to try and remember how many things they can't remember. Richard suggests they look up this Agent Shaddock they met the night before, as he may help them remember some of the blanks of their memories. When he suggests that they tell Peter about the idea, however, Mary points to the arguing couple and suggests that Peter has other problems to worry about.
That night, Peter and Felicia are driving to Long Island to investigate the robots that have been attacking him recently. After this last robot proved to be an ameboid robot, like one designed by the late Mendel Stromm. Although Peter states that Mendel Stromm is dead and buried, his old assistant was still alive and was institutionalised.[Continuity 5] When nobody at the asylum wanted to speak to Peter over the phone, he has decided to go and question them in person. At the facility, they meet with Dr. Roberts who treated Max Young. He informs them that Max Young is no longer a patient at the facility. He tells Peter and Felicia that Max escaped with a number of other inmates a few months back. The facility is in the process of covering this up, and Roberts warns Parker if he breaths a word of the incident he will sue and tells them to leave. Outside, Felicia's new contacts allow her to spot a mechanical spider that is watching over the facility. The pair then slip into the bushes and change into the costume.
Spider-Man leaps up onto the roof to grab the robot spider but it leaps away. It ends up getting impaled on the Black Cat's claws. As the wall-crawler takes a look at it, they are suddenly attacked by another robot. This robot is humanoid in form with a tri-screen is broadcasting images of three different people who are apparently controlling the robot. As they bicker over what to do next, the robot goes crashing through the roof, sending itself, Spider-Man and the Black Cat crashing into the indoor swimming pool below. Dodging the ray blasts from the robot's fingers, Spider-Man recognises the faces on screen as Max Young. He quickly deduces that each face represents a different aspect of Young's fractured personality. As Spider-Man tries to leap away, the robot snags him with a grappling cable and pulled back. However, before the web-slinger can be pulled into the robot's laser beams, the Black Cat leaps up and cuts the wall-crawler free. That's when Doctor Roberts enters the room to see what's going on. Max wants to kill the doctor but the others remind him to stay on task. Spider-Man decides to play against Max's mental illness by offering to kill Roberts himself. The arguing personalities soon get violent with each other with one commanding the robot to blow its own head off. This severs the connection and the inert robot topples over into the pool.
In the aftermath of the battle, Doctor Roberts fears that one of the other escaped patients, namely Alistair Smythe. This catches Spider-Man's attention and the hero is told that Smythe orchestrated the escape along with a group of the facilities most gifted and dangerous patients. That's when Roberts recalls that Alistair's father Spencer was an old foe of the wall-crawler.[Continuity 6] Spider-Man and the Black Cat leave the facility soon after. Spider-Man has nearly forgot about the Smythe family and their Spider-Slayers, and suggests they start looking for Alistaire Smythe immediately.
Meanwhile, in Queens, Richard and Mary Parker meet with Agent Shaddock near Aunt May's house. Much to their surprise, he pulls out a gun and orders them to get into the car.
Appearing in "Strained Relations"
- 🢐 Peter Parker (Only in flashback)
- 🢐 Richard Parker (Only in flashback)
- 🢐 Mary Parker (Only in flashback)
- Aunt May (Only in recap)
- Philip Watson (Only in recap)
- Madeline Watson (Only in recap)
- Gayle Watson (Only in recap)
- Timothy Byrnes (Only in recap)
- Frank Brown (Only in recap)
- Director (First and only known appearance)
Synopsis for "Strained Relations"
Mary Jane has landed a role in a film titled Strained Relations. It's a film about a young adopted daughter of a movie star that is falling in love with her mother's husband. Despite the lurid plot, Mary Jane is grateful for the role since shooting of "Secret Hospital" had recently been cut back. All the talk about family makes Mary Jane think about her own family.
She remembers how her father Philip was an alcoholic and a failed writer who took out of frustrations on his family. This was until her mother, Madeline took Mary Jane and her sister Gayle and left home. Her thoughts of this troubled time makes Mary Jane's performance come off tense so the director orders another take of the scene. As she performs further, Mary Jane thinks about how her mother worked herself to death. By then, Gayle had married, had two children, and been abandoned by her own husband. When Gayle came to her sister for aid, Mary Jane rejected her.[Continuity2 1] From there, she recalls how happy things had gotten since she met and married Peter Parker, and became part of his family.
The director orders cut again, and tells Mary Jane that her take was better, but he needs more sorrow. She thinks about how she recently spent the time with Peter and the couple alleging to be his parents. It became awkward when Mary Parker told Mary Jane that she could call him mom, and the talk of becoming closer. Mary Jane's instincts tell her to run, because of her own tragic family life. She also worries about sharing her husband with these people that have been out of his life for 2 decades. Admitting she is scared, Mary Jane begins to cry, nailing the scene. Realising that Mary Jane is legitimately crying, the director tells her to just let it all out.
One Clue Over the Cuckoo's Nest:
- Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage was erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
- At the time of this story, Felicia had recently lost her powers in Amazing Spider-Man #343.
- Mary Jane recently took up smoking to cope with the stress of the danger Peter faces as Spider-Man. This was revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #361.
- Peter's parents died while on a mission for the CIA, a fact revealed in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5. This couple appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #365 claiming to be Peter's parents. However, they are impostors as revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #388.
- Spider-Man encountered Mendel Stromm and his ameboid robots in Amazing Spider-Man #37. This encounter ended when Stromm seemingly died of a heart attack. However, unknown to anyone at the time, Stromm survived thanks to an impure version of the Goblin Formula, as explained in Osborne Journals #1. He will resurface again in Amazing Spider-Man #411.
- Spencer Smythe developed a number of the original Spider-Slayers starting in Amazing Spider-Man #25. Exposure to the radioactive isotopes used to build these robots caused Smythe to die of cancer, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #192. His son, Alistair, blames Spider-Man for his death and has sought revenge against the wall-crawler since Amazing Spider-Man Annual #19.
- All of these events were originally told in Amazing Spider-Man #259.